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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Britain

Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two people from the modern-day Roman province of Britannia. They are here to tell us about life as law-enforcement officers in the empire that never collapsed.

An unlikely pair, Dai is a Briton and a hard-working Investigator trying to solve a brutal string of murders and Julia, a Roman Inquisitor, sent to pour oil on troublesome provincial waters when a Roman citizen joins the body count.

They are here to tell us about their adventures.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Julia: I spent the first five years of my life in the slums that gather around the skirts of Rome. Then my mother died and my grandparents took me in. It still wasn’t a good part of town, but I was loved and I had enough to eat.

Dai: For a Briton, I had it pretty good. My family are well known landowners around Viriconium. No Citizen rights, of course, which meant my education was pretty rustic. But it’s a lovely place when you get out into the hinterland away from the city itself. I did well enough at school to get into the academy in Aqua Sulis – yes, we do have one or two academies in Britannia, even if they are not in the top one hundred recommended.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Julia: I suppose my favourite thing was my adoptive brother: he’s twenty years older than me and when he was home he would carry me around on his back. And my grandmother had a little dog called Toto. I would spend hours combing his coat

Dai: I loved running and I still pride myself on my physical fitness. As a boy I was a reader and a dreamer, always trying to hide from chores on the family farm. There was a place I used to love going to – a small valley with standing stones. No one ever went there, so I would run there and sit and read with my back to one of the stones. Continue reading “Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)”

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Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two enchanting characters out of the Regency era. Captain Boone would like nothing more than to – legally – plunder the seas. When he finds himself made a viscount, his friends and family insist he needs a wife.

Katherine Ashe wants only to help her sister, who’s caught in an unpleasant predicament. When marriage to Boone seems to be the only solution, she takes the opportunity to have her own household, escaping her overbearing aunt’s house once and for all and helping her sister in the bargain.

But before their convenient marriage can settle in, there’s a flight to Scotland to arrange; a budding sorceress to soothe—and oh, yes—a baby. 

They are here to tell us about their somewhat chaotic lives.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Jack: I spent the bulk of my formative years as a ward of the Duke of Edgebourne, a distant relation. His Grace took me in when my parents died at sea, and the entire Edgebourne family welcomed me. The Duke did his best to give me a proper education, but I’m afraid I was far more interested in when I might be able to get my own ship.

Kate: I grew up on my grandfather’s estate. He was the Earl of Ashewell. I helped him manage his estates for years. Unfortunately, my family has had a string of sad occasions, I’m afraid, and so the earldom passed to a distant cousin recently.

What are your fondest memories of your childhood?

Jack: Running rampant over the estate with Lords Westfield and Kilgoran, my two closest friends. I’m afraid we terrorized virtually everybody.

Kate: You still do.

Jack: We’re practically tame now.

Kate: That’s not what I heard after Lady Mountmatten’s ball. Continue reading “Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)”

Captain Hollie Babbitt (of Red Horse by M. J. Logue)

Red Horse - M J Logue

Dear readers, tonight with us is Captain Hollie Babbitt, of the Parliamentarian Army. A scruffy ex-mercenary, his command includes a posh poet, a bad-tempered horse, and a troop made up of every rebel, dissenter and horse-thief the rest of the Army didn’t want.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about where you grew up? What is the best memory of your childhood?

Has my wife put you up to this? That sounds like her kind o’ daft question.
I grew up in Lancashire, in Bolton, on the edge of the moors. There’s some folk as believe I was dragged up not brought up, which I was not. Never knew my mother, and the old – sorry, my father – hated me for better part o’ thirty-six years. Mam died having me, and he always said he’d have took her life over mine, if he’d been asked. That, and he never wanted a lad; he wanted a little girl, if he’d had to have a child instead of a wife.

I grew up a bit wild, bit not wicked. Neglected, you might say. I reckon the old mon thought if he beat me hard enough and often enough it’d do for bringing me up. The daft thing is, he thought he was doing the right thing. Thought if he let up on me I might go off and be a worse sinner than I was. Didn’t want me to bring shame on mam’s memory. Very godly feller, the old mon.

That’s not the sort of childhood you end up wi’ good memories of. Although there was a lass in Bolton that I was very fond of – no, not like that! Well, a bit like that – bless her, she used to look after me, slip me gingerbread, the odd hot pie, when he wasn’t around. I thought a lot of Gatty Norton. The old man taught me my letters, and my manners, but Gatty taught me kindness. Saw her again just before Marston Moor, but that – well. That’s a story for another time. She deserved better.

Oh aye – and she gave me a bit of a fondness for competent women, especially if they’re heavy-handed wi’ cake. But don’t mention that in front of the missus, eh? Continue reading “Captain Hollie Babbitt (of Red Horse by M. J. Logue)”

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